Clean Diesel Vehicles Now Comprise One-Third of US Commercial Truck Fleet

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About 3 million heavy-duty commercial vehicles in the United States use advanced clean diesel engines and emissions control systems that save billions of gallons of fuel and reduce polluting emissions by millions of metric tons (tonnes). According to one report, about 80 of today’s trucks emit the same level of nitrous oxide (NOx) and particulate pollutants as just one truck in 2000.

A new study by IHS Markit for the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF), an industry association representing diesel technology suppliers, revealed that over a five-year period (2011 through 2016) the newest generation of commercial vehicles saved 4.2 billion gallons of fuel and eliminated emission of 43 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, 21 million tonnes of nitrous oxides and 1.2 million tonnes of particulate matter.

Allen Schaeffer, DTF’s executive director, commented:

Because diesel overwhelmingly dominates the heavy-duty truck sector and is also the number one power source for medium-duty vehicles, the transition to newer generations of clean diesel technology (2011 and later [model years]) is significant.  The 30 percent national average is up from just 25.7 percent last year.  The research also estimated that significant further benefits would accrue to communities across the country if more of these newer generation clean diesel trucks enter into service.

The six states with the highest percentage of clean diesel trucks are:

  1. Indiana: 51%
  2. Utah: 42%
  3. Oklahoma: 42%
  4. Texas: 36%
  5. Montana: 35%
  6. Pennsylvania: 35%

Interestingly, while California leads the nation in many areas of emissions reductions, the state ranks just 46th in percentage of clean diesel trucks, with only about 25% of the fleet using the most advanced technologies. Schaeffer noted, “If California were to achieve the same new technology penetration as Indiana (51 percent), it can eliminate another 200,000 tons of NOx and 11,000 tons of fine particles that would bring cleaner air faster to all California communities than any other strategies.”

Last August the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a new rule that will require heavy-duty trucks to reduce emissions by an additional 1.1 billion tonnes by 2021. Much of the reduction is the result of reduced fuel consumption, which the agencies estimated would use 2 billion fewer barrels of oil over the lifetime of vehicles to which the standard would be applied. By the time the rule is fully implemented in 2027, the return on investment for the more efficient trucks will be less than two years.